Stay of execution motion overruled for former Austintown Trustee convicted of tampering with evidence
A motion for a stay of execution for a former Austintown Trustee and former Poland Local Schools resource officer has been overruled by a Mahoning County Judge.
According to court employees at Judge John Durkin's court, a motion, filed by former Austintown Trustee Steve Kent on September 21 for a stay of execution of sentence was denied.
In August of 2023, Kent was convicted of one count of tampering with evidence stemming from an incident where he performed a factory reset on his cell phone in order to erase evidence of communication with a Poland High School student who accused him of sexual battery.
Kent was found not guilty on all counts of sexual battery.
During his testimony in court, Kent testified that he didn't know that he was being investigated when he performed the factory reset and that he did it "to protect [his] wife from seeing more than she should have."
Kent was sentenced on September 20 to one year in prison and was immediately taken into custody. Judge Durkin said he struggled to make the decision, but felt that only giving Kent a community control sentence would not adequately protect the public and would not adequately punish Kent.
"As public officials, as police officers, we are and we should be held to higher standards," Judge Durkin said.
During his sentencing Kent apologized for his actions stating that he "embarrassed the uniform and embarrassed [his] community."
Kent and his attorney plan to file an appeal.